Have you ever performed a double take when you took a look at your last energy bill? While high energy bills can be the end result of extreme weather conditions, persistently high bills can quickly indicate an inefficient HVAC system or your home is misusing energy through other means, like drafty windows or poor insulation.
An easy way to figure out whether your home is using too much energy is by hiring a home service specialist to perform a home energy audit, also referred to as a home energy assessment. Keep reading to find out more about home energy audits, including what they are and their benefits.
What Is a Home Energy Audit?
An energy audit is a custom inspection of how much energy your home uses up and whether – and where – your home might be losing or wasting energy. An inspector will review past energy bills during an energy audit to find out where energy is being consumed and how much.
The overall goal of an energy audit is to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by identifying energy-efficient updates, which can include replacing your existing HVAC system, installing new insulation, plugging up leaks, or replacing old windows.
While completing the energy assessment, the auditor performs an inspection of the outside and inside of your home. The auditor performs a blower door test on doorways, windows and fireplaces to figure out if there are air leaks in your home. They’ll also evaluate your home’s HVAC system, which also includes the ductwork, the water heater, and the insulation in your attic. Some assessments could also include reviewing your current lighting system.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
It can be difficult for the average homeowner to be sure how efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes in their community. However, local energy companies often provide information about where your home is ranked in comparison to similar homes and whether it’s more efficient, about average, or inefficient in contrast with your neighbors’ homes. This can be a good starting point to figure out if you need an energy audit completed.
A few of the benefits of a home energy audit include:
Recognizing How Efficient Your Home Is
It’s worthwhile to learn more about how efficient your home is and where you’re using the most energy. For example, if your ducts are leaking air, it will cause a significant increase in your energy bills and excessive wear and tear on your HVAC system because it has to run longer to fully heat or cool your home.
Making Energy-Efficient Improvements
An energy audit can expose where you need to make energy-efficient changes to save on energy and reduce utility bills. This may include replacing worn-down weatherstripping or installing a new energy-efficient furnace.
Enhancing Health and Safety
Enabling air to leak into your home through doors and windows, or because of a lack of insulation can cause extra moisture to appear, which may negatively impact your home’s humidity levels or produce mold. This can exacerbate health conditions, particularly for people dealing with asthma or allergies.
Increasing Your Home’s Retail Value
Energy-efficient homes are desired by homebuyers. You can sell your home sooner or for more money by showing potential buyers that it’s energy efficient.
How to Do an Energy Audit of Your Home
Although performing an energy audit on your own will not be as comprehensive as hiring a professional, it’ll offer a broad understanding of how energy efficient your home is. If you don’t discover any problems during the DIY test, then you probably don’t need to call in a professional. Use this step-by-step checklist:
- Review your HVAC system. Leaky ducts can lose as much as 20% of conditioned air, contributing to higher energy bills and excess strain on HVAC equipment. If you find leaks, use duct tape to plug them. If your HVAC equipment is old and inefficient, upgrading to a new system can save you a significant amount on your energy bills. In some cases, it is better to call a reputable HVAC company to inspect your system.
- Watch for signs of air leaks. Air leaks on average can raise monthly energy bills by 10 to 20%. Inside, look for air leaks in areas where you can find a draft, such as along the edge of flooring and along baseboards and electrical outlets. Outside, you can look for air leaks along the home’s foundation, siding and mortar. Plug, caulk or seal any air leaks to save money.
- Examine insulation. If your home is older, it could mean your insulation is too. If you can see the joists, you likely need more insulation.
- Check the ventilation. Make sure that all of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are spinning properly, and inspect for evidence of rot or moisture.
Contact Paniccia Heating & Cooling for a Professional Energy Audit
If you are interested in professional help determining how energy efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, contact the HVAC pros at Paniccia Heating & Cooling today. We’ve proudly supported the residents of with quality home services for many years. Contact us today to request an appointment.
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